Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa residents celebrate Guinness World Record recognition

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa residents celebrate Guinness World Record recognition
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Al-Ahsa oasis includes more than 2.5 million palm trees extending over an area of more than 85.4 square kilometers. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa residents celebrate Guinness World Record recognition
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Al-Ahsa oasis includes more than 2.5 million palm trees extending over an area of more than 85.4 square kilometers. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa residents celebrate Guinness World Record recognition
3 / 4
Al-Ahsa oasis includes more than 2.5 million palm trees extending over an area of more than 85.4 square kilometers. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa residents celebrate Guinness World Record recognition
4 / 4
Al-Ahsa oasis includes more than 2.5 million palm trees extending over an area of more than 85.4 square kilometers. (SPA)
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Updated 10 October 2020

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa residents celebrate Guinness World Record recognition

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa residents celebrate Guinness World Record recognition
  • The oasis includes more than 2.5 million palm trees feeding on a huge aquifer through 280 artesian springs

RIYADH: People who live in and around Al-Ahsa Oasis reacted with joy and pride on Friday when it was revealed that Guinness World Records has recognized it as the largest self-contained oasis in the world.

The achievement was described as testament to the loving care and hard work that goes into maintaining the millions of palm trees that grow there. They cover an area of 32.9 square miles and are watered by a network of 280 artesian springs.
The dates produced in the region are renowned throughout the Kingdom and the world for their quality, and the lush greenery and cool weather have helped to make Al-Ahsa one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.
Mohammad Alkhudayri, a licensed tour guide in Al-Ahsa, said he hopes the recognition by such a renowned organization will inspire more people to visit the oasis and enjoy its beautiful scenery.
“The oasis of Al-Ahsa is more than 6,000 years old, and for all those years it has remained as vibrant and rich as ever,” he said. “Some of the trees are thousands of years old. It is only natural that such an achievement would be recognized, especially given the amount of love and effort that went into maintaining the area over all these years.”

The oasis of Al-Ahsa is more than 6,000 years old, and for all those years it has remained as vibrant and rich as ever. Some of the trees are thousands of years old.

Mohammad Alkhudayri, a licensed tour guide in Al-Ahsa

The number of fruit-bearing date palms in Al-Ahsa exceeds 2.5 million, Alkhudayri added. Many residents rely on them, and so are deeply devoted to their care.




Al-Ahsa oasis includes more than 2.5 million palm trees extending over an area of more than 85.4 square kilometers. (SPA)

“The people of Al-Ahsa are so proud of their date palms,” he said. “They provide them with sustenance and with something beautiful to look at. Even other parts of the tree, such as the trunk and the leaves, are used to make equipment, furniture, baskets and so on. For anyone in Al-Ahsa, date palms are vital to their way of life.”
Mohammad Almelhem, whose family owns and operates a date farm in Al-Ahsa, said that the palm trees are synonymous with Al-Ahsa, and that the dates they produce are “the best in the world.”
“We Hasawis have a deep relationship with our palms,” he said. “They are our greatest blessing and we look after them so that they will look after us.
“Our hard work ensures that you will never get a sweeter-tasting date anywhere, or find a more beautiful and peaceful place to grow or eat them.”
Almelhem also said he hopes that the recognition by Guinness World Records will encourage more people to visit the region, as it has so much to offer to offer tourists and yet its attractions are relatively unknown.
“The city is modernizing but there is still so much heritage here for people to discover,” he said. “Visitors are always surprised when they come because they don’t expect to see as much as they do.”
Al-Ahsa Oasis is also recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, along with the Hegra in AlUla, the Turaif neighborhood in historic Diriyah, the historic Al-Balad district in Jeddah, and the rock art sites in Jubbah and Shuaimis in Hail.

 


Saudi Arabia ‘sending right message to region,’ says Cyprus FM

Saudi Arabia ‘sending right message to region,’ says Cyprus FM
Updated 28 min 48 sec ago

Saudi Arabia ‘sending right message to region,’ says Cyprus FM

Saudi Arabia ‘sending right message to region,’ says Cyprus FM
  • Ties between Saudi Arabia and Cyprus have strengthened since the two countries reopened embassies in their respective capitals four years ago

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s growing role in resolving regional issues has been praised by Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides during a visit to Riyadh.

“More and more countries are coming to understand that no solution can be found in the region without Saudi Arabia playing a leading role in the efforts,” Christodoulides told Arab News on Tuesday.

“It was something we believed in from the very beginning, and we are glad that more countries are understanding this reality,” he said.

Ties between Saudi Arabia and Cyprus have strengthened since the two countries reopened embassies in their respective capitals four years ago.

Christodoulides said that working together on the bilateral, regional and EU level, a “vast number of achievements” have taken place during that time.

An updating of agreements on air traffic was a major development, he said.

The foreign minister also called for greater discussion and mediation to promote the interests of the region.

“Cyprus is a member of the EU, but at the same time we are a country of the region and what we want to do is to raise awareness in Brussels about the region and especially about Saudi Arabia. A lot of times I feel that the Europeans don’t know the region — they talk about the region, but they don’t really know it,” he said.

Discussions on regional security were among the highlights of his visit, which included meetings with his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan.

“We looked at how we can enhance our cooperation because security is an issue of concern for all of us,” Christodoulides said.

“We discussed ways to enhance regional cooperation, not just with the UAE and Saudi Arabia but also with Egypt and Greece,” he said, adding that like-minded countries in the region are coming together in order to face the challenges “and to discuss the economic and investment opportunities that we have.”

“What I want out of this visit (to the UAE and Saudi Arabia) is to present the right narrative and the right picture to my colleagues in Brussels. Sometimes during our discussions in the EU and in Brussels, I get the impression that they don’t know the region.”

Christodoulides said that it was also important to “send a common message” to the new Biden administration in the US.

“We have common challenges, common threats, but at the same time our region is not the same as it used to be during the Obama administration. We see a lot of people from the Obama administration coming back to key positions. So we need to send them the same message in order to avoid the mistakes of the past.”

Speaking of the changes taking place in Saudi Arabia, Christodoulides said: “I can see it on the faces of the people and, for me, this is most important. I am amazed by the changes in the country.”

The foreign minister also accused Turkey of “promoting its interests through gunboat diplomacy” with its energy exploration off the coast of Cyprus.

“When President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan was first elected, Turkey’s relations with other countries were very different. Turkey had no problems with its neighbors,” he said.

“How quickly things have changed in the past eight years. We end up today with (Turkey) having problems with all its neighbors. At the same time, we can’t change geography. We can’t change our neighbors. But we are in a position and we are ready to discuss all issues at the negotiation table.”

He said that Cyprus had signed a maritime borders agreement with Egypt, Lebanon and Israel based on international law and 1982 UN convention on the law of the sea, but when the country asked Turkey to talk and agree on maritime zones, Ankara refused.

“I’m wondering if Turkey feels so comfortable with its position. Why do they refuse to discuss with Cyprus, a member of the EU and the UN?” he asked.